Just thinking about a family getaway high up in the mountains and you start to breathe a bit easier. Surrounded by forest and the fragrant smell of pines and spruce, America's finest mountain resorts are therapeutic retreats for active families. In winter, you can ski or snowshoe, come summer it's time to hike, bike, canoe, fish and go horseback riding. There's no better place to leave the stresses of everyday life behind and relax in a gorgeous outdoor setting. Try these 10 mountain resorts for starters:

Written by Stephen Jermanok
The hills are alive with the sound of happy families hiking, biking and skiing in Stowe. Maria von Trapp, the woman who inspired The Sound of Music, is no longer with us, and the original building burned down in 1980, but Trapp Family Lodge endures. Set on a crest overlooking the Green Mountains, the new Austrian-style lodge has the same ole' stunning view. Members of the Trapp family are still found dining on wiener schnitzel and apple strudel with guests and leading singalongs in the living room. But it's the outdoors that beckon. The 2,600-acree resort is hidden in a fertile valley, ringed by mountains, providing splendid walks through dense woods past working sugarhouses, such as the six-mile round-trip stroll to Slayton Pasture Cabin. Maria's grandson, Sam, recently carved stellar mountain biking trails out of the woods and is offering lessons. He also has plans to open a microbrewery by their Austrian bakeshop.

The resort is also wonderful in the winter and spring months. Three years after the debut of The Sound of Music, Sam's dad opened one of the first and still one of the best commercial cross-country ski centers in North America. When the maples start to thaw in the spring, it's time to tap the maple syrup. Join in on the fun each Saturday, when you can cross-country ski, snowshoe or grab a horse-drawn sleigh to the sugarhouse for a traditional Sugar-on-Snow party.

Read our review of the Trapp Family Lodge.

Sip cocktails on the manicured back lawn behind the white rambling buildings of the Balsams, watching hummingbirds whiz by, and you can't help but wonder when F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda are going to arrive. Ah, yes, at dusk, the sporting life at this Gatsbyesque resort in New Hampshire's White Mountains is oh so civilized. All one has to do is look up from one of those Adirondack chairs placed on the verandah of the Balsams and you'll be rewarded with the same majestic view that has left visitors to this resort awestruck for the past 144 years. Just beyond the sloping lawns, colorful gardens, and the pool and pond, is the twisting carved granite they call Dixville Notch. A mountain wall hems in the tennis courts and Donald Ross-designed golf course. Add cross-country and downhill ski trails in the winter, mountain biking in summer, and a gluttonous feast at every meal and you understand why this grand dame is still reeling in families after all these years.Note: The resort is currently closed for renovations but will reopen in 2013.

Read our review of The Balsams.

Walk out the back patio of the Sagamore Hotel and glance past the manicured lawn to the waters of Lake George. You'll quickly understand why this is the premiere address in the Adirondacks. On the opposite shores of this long rambling Adirondack lake that often resembles a river, is an uninterrupted carpet of trees that rise to the top of 2,000-foot mountains. The waves of rolling summits form a silhouette against the sky that, due to the lake's narrow width, hems you in snugly between the peaks.

Set on a 70-acre island near Bolton Landing, this large wedding cake of a hotel has been keeping families happy for well over a century. The white clapboard resort overlooks the aptly named Dome Island and takes advantage of this beauty strip to offer swimming, boating, parasailing, banana boat rides, fishing, a fitness center with aerobics classes and yoga, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, summer camps for the kids, and a new outdoor pool and hot tub. Take a cruise on the Sagamore's private launch, the Morgan, to visit the more pristine inlets and islands in the northern half of the lake. Or better yet, go for a sail with the resort's sailing school. You can also rent kayaks to paddle around the island. Kids will like the outdoor movies in summer and the cafe downstairs. Even if you decide not to stay here, do yourself a favor and walk the exquisite grounds.

Read our review of The Sagamore.

It was 1892 when a young employee for the Canadian Pacific Railroad named Thomas Wilson came upon a gem of lake in the Canadian Rockies that sat beneath a towering glacier. He would write in his journal: As God is my judge, I never in all my explorations saw such a matchless scene. Taking his recommendation, Canadian Pacific would build a one-story log cabin that would serve as a hotel for guests who savored the outdoors. By 1912, word spread about this majestic spot in the mountains, enticing more than 50,000 people to reach the shores of Lake Louise. It was time for Canadian Pacific to build a grand chateau with blue roofs and turrets, furnishing it with the finest craftsmanship of the Edwardian era, so visiting royalty, heads of state and celebrities could hobnob in comfort.

Today, the 513-room Chateau Lake Louise is run by Fairmont Hotels and is still considered a gem in the Canadian Rockies. Yet, even if this lofty lodging was still a log cabin, you'd want to come here to experience the glorious vista of this emerald lake surrounded by snowcapped peaks. Grab a canoe from the hotel and cruise across this 1.5-mile-long glacial cirque. However, you might think twice about going for a dip. The water temperature never gets higher than 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read our review of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

The home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler has many upscale accommodations like the Fairmont and Westin. Yet, one step inside the limestone and granite lobby of the Four Seasons and you've been transported to a state of relaxation, where your every whim seems to be taken care of. In winter, the resort will have your waxed skis and pre-warmed boots waiting at the hotel's Ski Concierge Shop at the base of Blackcomb each morning. They also feature a Ski Elite Program with one-on-one instruction for skiers and a concierge that works solely with teenagers. The hotel is also conveniently a 15-minute walk to all the restaurants and shops in the center of town.

During the summer, Whistler is known for its abundance of outdoor adventure, from ziplining on the longest run in North America to heli-hiking on untrammeled Coast Mountain alpine meadows and biking down the mountains. For something a bit more relaxed, canoe the River of Golden Dreams. Following the current that flows from the eastern end of Alta Lake, you're soon cruising through the pines, with Whistler Mountain standing tall in the backdrop.

Read our review of the Four Seasons Resort Whistler.

The healing Hot Springs water has been soothing visitors since the time of the Revolutionary War. Many of our Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, have taken a soak in this Allegheny Mountain outpost on the Virginia/West Virginia border. A century after Jefferson, in 1902, the Homestead was built to house the many visitors making the pilgrimage. And what a house she is! This grande dame, built of red Kentucky brick and limestone, is the finest Virginian country manor open to the public. The 496-room resort is spread across 15,000 acres that features three golf courses, tennis courts, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, biking, downhill and cross-country skiing, ice skating, bowling and spring-fed indoor and outdoor pools. If you think the mega-resort solely caters to conferences, head straight to the KidSpa, where the 8 and over sect can soak their toes in chocolate milk and fingers in strawberries and cream, learn how to apply make-up, and get a facial or even a Swedish Massage. The year-round Kids Club for ages 3 to 12 keeps the youngins busy with outdoor activities, arts and crafts, and this being western Virginia, some good old tales about the mountains.

Read our review of Omni Homestead Resort & Canyon Ranch Spa.

If you and the family really want that Rocky Mountain High, it's hard to top the storied Broadmoor, set at the base of Cheyenne Mountain on the outskirts of Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains. Open in 1918, the 700-suite manor has kept up with the times, recently opening one- to eight-bedroom cottages that are perfect for an extended family reunion. Most of the action centers on Cheyenne Lake with its infinity swimming pool, children's pool, water slides and whirlpools. There are also three 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, paddleboating on the lake, bike rentals, horseback riding through the wilderness, and off-property tours to fly-fish, whitewater raft or ride a cog train up Pike's Peak. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Bee Bunch offers children ages 3 to 12 full-day, half-day, and evening sessions to join counselors on hikes and scavenger hunts, as well as an op to enjoy the Junior Ice Cream manicure and pedicure at the spa, geared to ladies 11 and under.

Read our review of The Broadmoor.

Rustic elegance is the only way to describe the 37 cabins that surround a meadow of wildflowers at Jenny Lake Lodge. Arguably the finest property in any of America's National Parks, walk out that cabin door and you'll be peering up at the serrated ridge of the mighty Tetons. Take a hike through the tall pines and you'll no doubt spot elk, bison and antelope. There are glacial-fed lakes for boating, fishing and swimming, and befitting Jenny Lake's history as a former dude ranch, you can go horseback riding as much as you want. Riding is included in the price of the cabin, along with bike rentals, breakfast and dinner. And these are no ordinary meals: The kids will rave about the fresh mountain berries in the pancakes, mom and dad will go gaga over the five-course dinner that often includes buffalo carpaccio, wild trout and tender chunks of veal, along with a superb wine list. It's good to know you won't have to drive that evening. Just look up at the stars and pat yourself on the back for booking the legendary lodge.

Read our review of the Jenny Lake Lodge.

When actor Robert Redford purchased land in 1969 and began building Sundance Resort, he chose a magical locale on the eastern slopes of 11,750-foot Mount Timpanogos. Then he built cottages from indigenous woods and stone and placed them along streams and under groves of aspen. Today, Sundance is a four-season playground for families. In winter, Sundance is a great place to learn to ski with 41 trails on the front and back of the peak. There's also more than 20 miles of groomed cross-country trails to leave you deep in the forest. Summer and fall can be even more fun, with the lifts still running to bring hikers and mountain bikers to the peak. The Sundance Nature Trail snakes through the oak, maple and spruce to reach a waterfall. Then there's the arduous Great Western Trail, which climbs an unrelenting 4,000 feet to reward you with some of the most breathtaking vistas in the West. There's also ample opportunity to fly-fish for trout on the nearby Provo River and go on guided horseback rides from Sundance Stables. Back at the resort, there's a spa to rest your weary muscles, art classes offered at the Art Shack Studios, and gourmet fare found at the restaurant.

Read our review of the Sundance Resort.

Built of heavy timber and stone in 1927, Ahwahnee has one of the most coveted addresses of any hotel in America, Yosemite National Park. Surprisingly, the historic lodge is at its finest in winter when you can return from a day of downhill skiing at Badger Pass or skating at Curry Village and return to the massive fireplace in the hotel's Great Lounge and feel as cozy as John Muir. Book far in advance for a room in the high peak summer season, then wander outside to see sheer walls of the silvery Half Dome plunge some 4,500 feet below. Or walk amidst the 200-foot sequoia trees in Yosemite's Mariposa Grove. The hotel features a large outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a dining room open for all meals, and nightly talks in summer by park rangers.

Read our review of the Ahwahnee Hotel.

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10 Best Mountain Family Resorts
Trapp Family Lodge Reviews
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The Balsams Grand Resort Reviews
mdashaw - Nov 4th, 2011

The Balsams was a quintessential grand resort in beautiful Dixville Notch. We arrived on December 22 for a two night stay and as we crested the hill into the notch, it was as if we were entering a winter wonderland for Christmas, and it continued ... read more
The Balsams Grand Resort reviews
The Sagamore Reviews
lsbassis - Sep 3rd, 2014

The property and pools were lovely. The food at the restaurants was good though expensive. The rec center and activities were phenomenal and my kids are still talking about it 3 months later. However, we had no hot water until the 3rd day of our ... read more
The Sagamore reviews
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Reviews
mahartman - Jun 17th, 2014

Superb hotel, with very reasonable rates, when combined with a ski package of 3-4 days. This is my second time skiing at Lake Louise, and I wouldn't stay anywhere else. Huge public areas in the hotel have been upgraded/remodeled. One is left with ... read more
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise reviews
Four Seasons Resort Whistler Reviews
Be the first to write a Four Seasons Resort Whistler review!
The Omni Homestead Resort Reviews
Vetmomof3 - May 28th, 2010

Yes, The Homestead is up a mountain and it is very pricey; however some times they make it worth it. It took us three hours to get to the resort from richmond, va. When you finally stop curving around the mountain, you are greeted by the wondrous ... read more
The Omni Homestead Resort reviews
The Broadmoor Reviews
cardbucfan - Jul 3rd, 2012

We stayed at the Broadmoor as part of a conference my husband was attending. It is a spectacular resort with exceptional customer service. The grounds are beautiful and well maintained. There is an indoor pool, an outdoor lap pool and a nice ... read more
mommy3esq - Nov 30th, 2011

Vacationing at the Broadmoor is a special trip for any family. The Broadmoor is a first class resort property with a beautiful location and great family pool. The slide is fun for kids, teens and even Mom and Dad! In the evening you can enjoy ... read more
The Broadmoor reviews
Jenny Lake Lodge Reviews
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Sundance Resort Reviews
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The Ahwahnee Reviews
jlu - Jul 12th, 2014

We spent the week of Thanksgiving in this stunning hotel. The rooms were small. We could hear everything all of our neighbors said. Everything in the room was well-used. HOWEVER, the location was beautiful. The food was delicious. And the ... read more
cgranata - Oct 28th, 2009

The Awahnee is a beautiful, but expensive hotel. the kids might prefer camping... read more
The Ahwahnee reviews


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